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Expand chart

The COVID-19 crisis drove digital media consumption to new heights, while traditional media stagnated, according to data from eMarketer.

What's happening: Even before the pandemic, but especially after, time American adults spent on smartphones and smart TVs skyrocketed while time spent on devices like radio and linear television continued to decline.

Why it matters: Media companies that hadn't already begun to realign their businesses around streaming and mobile were caught flat-footed by the pandemic's digital boom. Those that did have been rewarded.

Driving the news: Disney said Tuesday that its streaming service Disney+ surpassed 100 million subscribers in just 16 months.

  • Its subscriber base is roughly half the size of Netflix's, which launched subscription streaming more than a decade ago.
  • Disney's streaming success has helped the entertainment giant survive economic headwinds driven by the closing of parks and resorts during the pandemic.

By the numbers: Time spent with media overall increased significantly during the pandemic, thanks to lockdowns that people spent online.

  • Time spent with digital increased 15% last year from 2019 to 7 hours, 50 minutes daily.
  • Connected TV saw a 33.8% increase in usage last year, to 1 hour, 17 minutes per day.
  • Subscription streaming saw a 33.9% increased in usage to 1 hour, 12 minutes per day.
  • Digital audio saw a 8.3% increase in usage to 1 hour, 29 minutes per day.

What to watch: eMarketer predicts that that these formats will claim even more daily media time going forward. Traditional TV, social media, tablets, and desktops/laptops will likely decrease in usage this year compared to 2020.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Texas nonprofit got massive border contract after hiring Biden official

Migrants attempting to enter the United States from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: David Peinado/Xinhua via Getty Images

A Texas nonprofit that recently hired a Biden transition official got a contract worth as much as $530 million to help manage the influx of migrant children at the southern border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract is by far the largest ever awarded to Family Endeavors. It's potentially worth more than 12 times the group's most recently reported annual budget — a sign of the demand the new work will place on its operations.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: $1 million ad buy defends Georgia law to business critics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A leading conservative group is targeting the business community with a seven-figure ad buy on CNBC and local TV defending Georgia's new voting law from its corporate critics, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By focusing on the C-suite through a network it watches, Heritage Action for America is offering a rejoinder to some companies — even Major League Baseball — after they waded so prominently into politics.